IT-21 headed for merger with NMCI

The Navy is closer to its goal of folding its architecture program for shipboard systems into its ashore seat management initiative, a top Navy official said last week.

"I would hope that in not too much time, you wouldn't talk about the two separately," said H. Lee Buchanan, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, referring to the service's Information Technology for the 21st Century program and the Navy Marine Corps Intranet contract for management of ashore systems.

"It's gotta merge. There's no alternative," Buchanan said.

Buchanan has made system interoperability one of his key initiatives during his 28-month stint as assistant secretary of the Navy. A political appointee, Buchanan will leave his Pentagon position on Jan. 20, when George W. Bush is sworn in as president.

NMCI was not written with a "specific eye to including IT-21," Buchanan said, but Navy officials want IT-21 to come under NMCI because it doesn't make sense to operate two separate architectures.

By outsourcing the management of IT-21, the Navy can move more quickly to implement new technology, Buchanan said.

"Our potential adversaries have better access to technology with a Radio Shack catalog and a credit card," than the Navy has through its slow-moving procurement system, he said.

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